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Economics Title

Procedures and Processes of Parliament

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Procedures v Processes; What is the difference?

Procedures and processes of parliament are different by definition. Procedures are the way parliament is able to formalize and enable its Processess.

Procedures include;

- Appointing of the Speaker/President

- Rules of debate

- Motions

- Divisions

- Petitions

- Hansard

- Organization of parliamentary business

These help formalize the processes that include;

- Scrutiny of bills

- Scrutiny of government

- Legislating

- Review of bills

- Representation

- Debate

Standing Orders

Standing Orders are the rules governing parliament. They govern procedures such as orders of business, proposing and voting on a motion, and addressing speaker/president

- Provide rules governing the operation of each house. They empower the speaker/president to enforce the rules and regulations of the standing orders

- Can be manipulated by government, and can be suspended or amended by a majority vote

- The ability of a speaker to expel a member of parliament can be misused, e.g. Bronwyn Bishop ejected 393 ALP members in her 130 sitting days as speaker of the house

- Has more effect in Senate that doesn’t have a majority

Speakers of the House and President of the Senate

Both act in similar ways, directing the business of each house.

- Upholds standing orders and maintains order in parliament to ensure its functioning

- Expected to act impartially, do note vote on motions, etc.

- Presidents of senate tend to be more impartial as the exec does not dominate the upper house

- Can act in a partisan manner

Both are voted positions from within each house, but by convention the president of the senate is from the governing party of the lower house. The speaker of the House of Representatives will often be from the governing party, with the exception of a minority government.

Orders of Business

- Agendas govern each sitting day through schedule of parliament’s business

- Ensure accountability through allocation of time and giving members opportunity to debate and move motions

- Order of Business and Notice Paper in the HoR

- ‘the Red’ and Notice Paper in the Senate

Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives

Parliamentary committees are small subsets of members of parliament to fulfill specific roles and purposes to be more efficient

Standing Committees form when a parliament sits after an election. They endure for the life of the parliament and dissolve with it before an election

Select Committees form for a particular purpose and dissolve after submitting their findings to parliament

Committees within parliament are;

- Always to the proportion of the parliament, e.g. government majority in the HoR

- Can be joint committees

Reduced partisanship through;

- Closed sessions; no incentive for politicization of discussion

- Constructive cross party relationships; professional, personal relationships form as a result of committees

- Independence of Senate Committees; more diverse and less party dominance means more impartiality of committee

e.g. Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, made in the Huan Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011, has a role to scrutinize parliament legislation for their infringements on human rights